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GMAT AWA Topics – Sample Prompts

Before you start.

Remember that the AWA is testing your ability to effectively critique an argument being presented. There will be some common fallacies used in the prompts that you will need to address. Familiarize yourself with these flawed arguments so that you can quickly identify them as you write your essay:

Inappropriate Comparisons – comparing two things which are not necessarily similar, thus leading to a flawed conclusion. You will notice that in an inappropriate comparison, the argument will only note the similarities between two things with no explanation of why the differences do not change the outcome.

Example: "Dogs are highly motivated by food, which is a useful tool for training. Using this same method, you can help to encourage your children to repeat positive behaviors." This argument does not address early childhood development, nor does it address dog psychology – the person assumes that if a solution worked in one situation, it will work in the other.

Vague Language – using words such as "many", "few", "some", "more", or "less" without further qualification is often too vague to make a cogent point.

Example: "In Chicago, more people voted to add bike lanes than people did in Aurora, so it is clear that the citizens in Chicago are more pro-bike than the citizens in Aurora." This argument does not explain what 'more' means. Is it by percentage? Does it refer to raw number of votes, and if so, does it take into account the number of voters in Chicago vs. the number of voters in Aurora?

Correlation vs Causation – this common fallacy asserts that because something occurred, it must be a consequence of some specific variable observed before the result.

Example: "Students in Neighborhood A have higher test scores on average that students in Neighborhood B. Therefore, it is clear that the schools in Neighborhood A are better than the schools in Neighborhood B." This argument is flawed because it assumes the only meaningful variable in test scores was the school the children attend. This argument does not consider other various factors, such as poverty, school resources, home situations, and the parents' abilility to supplement educational opportunities, etc.

Sampling Issues – a case in which statistics are used inappropriately to compare unlike populations or to draw broad conclusions using a small sample.

Example: "56% of the reviews of Company A are negative, which shows that most customers are very unhappy with the service provided." The problem with this argument is that it does not address the percentage of overall customers who have written reviews. How do we know that this is representative of all customers vs. those who are upset about an issue and take the time to write a review?

Now that you have reviewed some common flawed arguments you may encounter, it is time to get started practicing!

Sample Prompt 1

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles:

"People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food by depleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full. Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus, it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Sample Prompt 2

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:

"On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer."

Sample Prompt 3

The following appeared as part of an editorial in an industry newsletter:

"While trucking companies that deliver goods pay only a portion of highway maintenance costs and no property tax on the highways they use, railways spend billions per year maintaining and upgrading their facilities. The government should lower the railroad companies’ property taxes, since sending goods by rail is clearly a more appropriate mode of ground transportation than highway shipping. For one thing, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport. Furthermore, since rail lines already exist, increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines at the expense of taxpaying citizens."

Sample Prompt 4

The following was excerpted from the speech of a spokesperson for Synthetic Farm Products, Inc.:

"Many farmers who invested in the equipment needed to make the switch from synthetic to organic fertilizers and pesticides feel that it would be too expensive to resume synthetic farming at this point. But studies of farmers who switched to organic farming last year indicate that their current crop yields are lower. Hence their purchase of organic farming equipment, a relatively minor investment compared to the losses that would result from continued lower crop yields, cannot justify persisting on an unwise course. And the choice to farm organically is financially unwise, given that it was motivated by environmental rather than economic concerns."

Sample Prompt 5

The following is part of a business plan created by the management of the Megamart grocery store:

"Our total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store. Clearly, the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping. The surest way to increase our profits over the next couple of years, therefore, is to add a clothing department along with an automotive supplies and repair shop. We should also plan to continue adding new departments and services, such as a restaurant and a garden shop, in subsequent years. Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores."

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GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

Also called the GMAT Essay, the Analytical Writing Assessment(AWA) overall is a single task, which is to evaluate an argument. You will have a total of 30 minutes to consider the argument, write your essay, and finally proofread your essay. It can either be the first or final sections in your variable exam order; that is, you can either begin with the AWA, followed by the integrated section, then go to the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections, or you can start with the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections first, then follow it with the integrated reasoning section and finish with the AWA. 

The essay is scored independently on a 0 – 6 scale of ½ point increments. You will have two independent graders, one of which may or may not be a computer program, but they will never deviate by more than one point. That means that if one of them gives you a 4 and the other gives you a 5, then you will have a 4½.  

How does the AWA compare with the other GMAT sections?

The AWA is always going to be the least important section of the GMAT for admissions considerations. You should consider the GMAT essay exam as a de facto truffle exam, which is an English as a foreign language requirement exam, and basically, it is there to guarantee proficiency in the written English language. In theory, if someone without English language proficiency was to write an essay in their native language, for example, and have someone translate it, then the admissions office cannot be aware of that. But for the GMAT essay, whoever is writing the exam has to prove their identity and write the essay in 30 minutes without any assistance.

How does the AWA affect your GMAT score?

Your goal here is to hit a 5-point minimum. 5 or higher, which is just about the 55th percentile is a safe target score, sometimes even a 4½ could be safe, but a 4 is going to put you at about the 20th percentile because of the scoring system. So, to be safe, you really must do your best to guarantee a five-point score or higher in your essay. If you execute the tactics and processes discussed in this article, you should be able to produce a relatively well-written level 5 essay.

As a GMAT test taker, you must decide beforehand whether it suits you to treat the essay and integrated sections as warmups and therefore do them first, or you prefer to do the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections first before you handle the IR and AWA as a cooldown.

Static Essay Task

Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze your line of reasoning and use the evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Now that you have read the essay task, it may never change, and you may never have to read it again. All you have to do is get familiar with this essay task as part of your GMAT exam preparation, and on test day, you will know exactly what to do.

How should I address the essay task?

Think of it as a long-form critical reasoning evaluation task. Evaluate the reasoning, do not attack the reasoning or offer alternative reasoning. Basically, stay on task. 

The first thing you always have to do is identify the main claim conclusion, recommendation, or opinion requiring evaluation.

Read the paragraph or two carefully and understand what the main claim or specific conclusion is. You must be careful not to “attack” the argument, so avoid pejorative hyperbole. For instance, don’t say how terrible the argument is, how completely unfounded it is, or that kind of extreme judgment. There certainly are some flaws, but you need to be measured in your response. 

Investigate ways in which additional information pertaining to possible assumptions could both damage or improve the claim. That is, you don’t only want to point out the problem with the argument as it is presented but also give possible solutions. Suggesting solutions illustrates a true understanding of the circumstances in the argument and different pieces of augmentation and generally show an overall understanding of what is happening in the prompt. This is basically what the examiners are looking for to attain the roughly ten percentile score of 6.

Avoid using outside information or personal biases in your evaluation.

Stick to the prompt, and don’t go outside of it. One of the major ways you can deviate from the task and get yourself into the danger zone of below 5 is by going off on a tangent and talking about things that you are assuming everybody knows. If you get a topic that you are particularly familiar with, make sure that you are not using information that is not available to your grader. Your grader is probably someone who is going to read the paragraph in two to five minutes and probably has a checklist to ensure that you accomplish all the goals. If it is a computer program, it is probably going to be even more streamlined. So stay on topic, don’t deviate, and don’t include possibilities, personal biases, or outside information. Use only the information that you have been provided.

Can I finish the Analytical Writing Assessment section in 30 minutes?

Start with 3 – 5 minutes of brainstorming. In the brainstorming, you need to identify the main conclusion in need of evaluation. You also need to identify major issues within the argument that would affect the viability of that conclusion. For example, is the sample size too small? Identify as many different issues as you can find that need to be further evaluated as per the task to determine the viability of the conclusion.

Spend the next 22 – 25 minutes writing your essay. Assume a standard four-paragraph structure: An introduction, a first support paragraph, a second support paragraph, and a conclusion. It is not necessary to have a fifth paragraph; in fact, it is best that you don’t have a fifth paragraph here so that you have enough time to Proofread your essay.

Spend 2 – 3 minutes proofreading your essay. It is important that you catch any major errors in logic. It is very possible in these 30 minutes of essay writing to entirely leave out a sentence that was in your mind and is integral to what is happening in your essay. You also have to include things like what is your actual conclusion, don’t just refer to it obliquely as “the conclusion” over and over. Your essay grader can’t just assume that you know what the conclusion was. 

Fix convoluted phrasing. If English is not your first language, you can probably just streamline and cut out extra words. This exam does not give any extra points for the length of the essay, so streamline, use an active voice, and be direct, concise, and clear. 

Vary your word choice slightly.

Samples Essay Prompt

The following appeared as part of the annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods: “Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch film fell from 50 cents for a five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for a one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

Sample Brainstorming

The first thing you have to do is identify the main conclusion. You can paraphrase slightly but not much because, basically, we are just short-handing.

Main conclusion : Since OF(Olympic Foods) will soon turn 25, it can be expected that the experience will minimize costs and maximize profits!

You can put this directly into the word processor interface because you can write around it as you are brainstorming. Focus on the conclusion and try not to pick any of the evidence. Being disinterested and unbiased with the evidence will help us identify possible issues or assumptions. For example: 

  • Is the analogy to color processing apt? Is there anything similar between Olympic Foods and color film processing? Don’t make a value judgment and say, “absolutely not.” You just ask the question, and the task is to seek out the answer.
  • Another inherent assumption that you may have to investigate is, does minimizing cost means that we will maximize profits? If the cost drops, does that mean that revenue does not go down as well?
  • Do 25 years qualify as long experience? The color processing analogy cites the period between 1970 and 1984, a duration of 14 years. So, according to this prompt, is 25 years adequate to be considered long experience?
  • Is the annual report possibly a biased source? It is from a report to stockholders by Olympic Foods and has a very positive outlook of Olympic Foods; might it be biased? Should we consider another source? 
  • Because the principle applies in theory, does it necessarily work in practicality? Do we need more information to say if it can work in practicality or not?

All this you need to do in under 5 minutes.

Take notes in the word processor interface for maximum efficiency. 

Choose the top three topics or issues to evaluate in your essay. There is not enough time to go through everything, so just streamline into the big three.

Here we’ll go with:

  • Is the analogy to color processing apt?
  • Do 25 years qualify as long experience?
  • Is the annual report possibly a biased source?

This is a personal decision, but you have to make it proactively so that you are extremely consciously writing your essay.

Essay structure

1. introduction (paragraph 1).

Start by identifying your main conclusion. Don’t skirt it, don’t overly paraphrase it, or refer back to it as “the conclusion, the claim, or the recommendation”. Sometimes the conclusion is a bit convoluted and complex, and your essay grader checks to see if you specifically understood the conclusion. It is also here that you will be previewing your top three issues you need to evaluate and transition into the primary issue you are going to evaluate, say; for instance, let’s say the main issue here is the aptness of the color processing analogy.

2. Primary Issue (paragraph 2 )

Briefly summarize your primary issue and how it affects the viability. Be straightforward and do not include too many details. It should be self-explanatory since you are not using external information that needs further exposition. Recommend some additional information sources and how the results of that information might improve or decrease the viability of the claim. For instance, it is possible that we find out that there are a lot of ways that color processing is similar to food processing, which will strengthen the claim. Make sure to address the pro side as well and not only the cons. 

Finally, transition into the second most pertinent issue that you are going to evaluate. 

3. Second Issue (paragraph 3 )

Briefly summarize the issue and how it affects the viability. Recommend some additional information sources and how the results of that information might improve or decrease the viability of the claim. You can consider some vague hypotheticals that could improve or decrease the viability of the claim. If, for example, you are considering age, that is, is 25 years long enough to be considered experienced? You could ask, “What if there are primary competitors with more than 100 years of experience?” And what if the competitors have significantly fewer years of experience?

In this case, you are not really bringing in outside information, you are just considering hypotheticals. This is a better way to go about it than driving yourself into a rabid hole of too many specifics which you may not be able to determine within the context of the prompt. Keep it simple while trying to achieve a breadth of coverage on several different topics. Transition into the third most pertinent issue in need of evaluation.

4. Conclusion (paragraph 3)

Briefly mentioned any additional issues that may need to be evaluated. The possible bias would be a good one to drop in here. You could, for example, just point out that the source for this is the Olympic Foods stockholder report. Is this a disinterested unbiased source? Is there somebody else that would agree with this report?

You can then close by restating the main claim of the argument as uncertain pending results of seeking additional information regarding the issues identified in the essay. That is to say, without answers to the issues raised, we don’t really know the truth of the claim. 

Do not shy away from writing in the first person. Just pick a person and stay consistent with it. You can write as “I” or “We”, you can write in the third person; it is completely okay either way, so long as you remain consistent.

Analytical Writing Assessment Process

Brainstorm. (3.5 minutes).

  • Read the paragraph to identify the main conclusion to address the static task. 
  • Identify the three top issues or assumptions affecting the conclusion’s viability

Write Essay. (22 – 25 minutes)

Make it a basic four-paragraph structure: An introduction, two paragraphs of support, and a conclusion. Try to allocate new information for the conclusion. Having a more robust organization and cohesion in your essay are some of the things that will edge you closer to 5.5 or 6 in your AWA.

Make sure to leave enough time to catch major errors and vary word choices slightly. The downside to not proofreading is much bigger than the upside of using the final two or three minutes to write another two or three sentences. 

Try applying this approach to your GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment. Pull up some prompts and do some practice in preparation for your GMAT exam. 

Additional prompts are available at:

https://www.mba.com/ ~/media/Files/mba2/the-gmat-exam/files/gmat-exam-format-and timing/analytical-writing-assessment/analysisofanargument_gmat-exam.pdf.

Remember, it takes practice to excel in any exam. Therefore, as you prepare to sit for your GMAT exams, don’t forget to practice with real questions. You can take advantage of our GMAT study resources available at a small premium. Find out what we have to offer and boost your confidence by practicing adequately.

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Homepage > GMAT IR and AWA > GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips – How to score a perfect 6 on GMAT AWA

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips – How to score a perfect 6 on GMAT AWA

Posted by Suheb Hussain | Aug 6, 2020 | GMAT Focus Edition , GMAT IR and AWA , GMAT Preparation

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips – How to score a perfect 6 on GMAT AWA

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section measures your ability to analyze an argument and communicate your thoughts or ideas. What you simply need to do is to critically analyze the reasoning given behind a given argument. To complete the AWA section of the GMAT you are allotted 30 minutes.

GMAT Analytical writing Assessment

Here is the outline of the article:

How to create a well rounded Analytical Writing Assessment essay?

  • How does ‘GMAT Write’ analyze your AWA essay?

GMAT AWA tips – GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Template

  • Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment essay

Let’s discuss now how you can score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section. Here are a few tips to prepare you for the GMAT AWA section.

Step 1 –  Understand the process of creating a well-rounded analysis of an argument. You can do that in two ways or rather with the help of two tools.

  • AWA template by Chineseburned from gmatclub

Step 2 – Practice! Practice! Practice! the AWA questions. Here is a list of practice questions for you.

GMAT Write – An AWA practice tool by GMAC

GMAT Write is a writing tool provided by GMAC. It gives you access to 2 unique essay prompts and a chance to write 4 essays. The good thing about this tool is that it scores your essay based on the scoring algorithm used by the official GMAT exam. But, it costs $29.99 to subscribe to this tool.

Take a look at this article to know the importance of AWA and IR sections for business school admissions.

How does the ‘GMAT Write’ analyze your GMAT AWA essay?

Once you submit an essay, it scores you on 4 categories:

  • Analysis of the issue
  • Supports ideas
  • Organizes coherent idea
  • Language control

Based on these 4 categories it gives you an overall score for the essay.

Even if you don’t buy this tool, you still get to know what GMAT considers an ideal essay to be from it. An ideal essay should:

  • Identify and analyze significant flaws in the argument
  • Support the critique using relevant supporting reasons and/or examples
  • Be a clearly organized and coherent response
  • Demonstrate control of language, including diction, syntax, and conventions of standard written English

Source: https://www.mba.com/exam-prep/gmat-write

Once you know what factors make a perfect essay, the next thing you should do is creating a template. The most popular template for AWA is the one provided by ‘Chineseburned’ user on the gmatclub forum.

If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at  [email protected] . We are the  most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1950 reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge for yourself?

Here are the details of his template:

Structure of the essay

  • Introduction: Restate the argument and point out the flaws. Now, state your views which you’ll discuss in the next paragraphs.
  • First paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
  • Second paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
  • Third paragraph: Pose a few questions for the argument. The absence of information in the argument to answer your questions weaken it further.
  • Fourth argument: State information that you feel would have strengthened the argument but is absent. (This is an extra paragraph which is not in Chineseburned template)
  • Conclusion: State that the argument is flawed because of the above reasons and which reasons could have strengthened the argument.
Learn how the IR section is scored.

Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment AWA essay

Here is a sample AWA essay question for practice. We have also provided the answer to this question based on the template.

The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum. “The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand.” Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

GMAT AWA essay

The Excelsior company wants to introduce its own brand of coffee since coffee is an expensive food item and might have good profit margins. However, as there are several established brands of coffee already, it needs to work out a way to gain a foothold in the market. For this purpose, the company plans to pursue the same marketing strategy that the leading coffee company Superior had used. However, I think there are several flaws in that line of reasoning. And hence this argument seems a little weak.

First, Superior is already an established brand and the market leader. No data is given as to how long back it entered the coffee market. Without this information, it is difficult to ascertain the utility of the marketing strategy for Excelsior. A brand might take decades to establish, and what worked a decade back, need not work today. For example, when Google was initially set up, it depended on word of mouth, rather than any communication media, for its marketing. As it was initially just an internal product for the University, this approach worked for them. However, it might not work for any company now. We see these days that most new web companies do advertise heavily when they initially launch a product for the masses.

Second, no information has been provided about the target market for the coffee or the pricing strategy. It might be that the coffee produced by Superior is one of the cheaper products in the market. And that they earn their profits from volume sales rather than having a niche market. Whereas, Excelsior might be aiming at the niche market of expensive and luxury coffee. If that were the case, then the same marketing strategies might not be relevant for Excelsior. Can Hyundai apply the same approach towards the market as does a luxury brand like Ferrari?

Without some of the relevant and contextual details, it is difficult to judge the efficacy of using the same marketing strategy that a competitor applied some unknown years back. If we were to get some more details in this regard, we could have judged the situation better.

Although all the factors being the same, it might not be a bad idea to follow the same approach as that of a leading brand in the market. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with sticking to the tried and the tested. In the absence of any other better idea, Excelsior might not have much to lose if it pursues the same methods as did Superior. It’s better to have some plan rather than no plan.

Conducting a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions and discount coupons might not be such a bad idea. It could be a good ploy to get users to try out the product. And discounts and other monetary incentives are usually very effective in this regard. If the quality of the product is good enough and the pricing is appropriate, introducing enough customers to the product through such offers might give a significant push to consumer interest in the product. While customer satisfaction might leverage word of mouth marketing.

Therefore, depending on the context the approach might or might not be a beneficial one. This essay question has been taken from gmatclub and the answer has been judged as a perfect 6 by the GMAT Write tool. The answer was written by the user ‘rish2jain’ from gmatclub forum.

To score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section, it is important that you learn the AWA template and practice as much as you can. Just don’t overdo it. It is a good practice to devote 10% of your preparation time to GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section.

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The GRE ® General Test

One test for graduate, business and law school

Select a step to learn more about your GRE ® General Test journey.

Overview of the Analytical Writing Measure

Analytical writing measure (beginning september 22, 2023).

The Analytical Writing measure of the GRE General Test administered beginning September 22, 2023, assesses your critical thinking and analytical writing skills by assessing your ability to:

  • articulate and support complex ideas
  • construct arguments
  • sustain a focused and coherent discussion

It doesn’t assess specific content knowledge.

The Analytical Writing measure consists of a 30-minute “Analyze an Issue”  task. This task presents an opinion on an issue and instructions on how to respond. You’re required to evaluate the issue, consider its complexities and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.

You’ll use a basic word processor developed by ETS to type your essay responses. The word processor contains the following functionalities: insert text, delete text, cut-and-paste and undo the previous action. Tools such as a spellchecker and grammar checker are not available.

Analytical Writing Measure before September 22, 2023

The Analytical Writing measure of the GRE General Test administered before September 22, 2023, assesses your critical thinking and analytical writing skills by assessing your ability to:

  • construct and evaluate arguments

The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks:

  • The "Analyze an Issue" task presents an opinion on an issue and instructions on how to respond. You’re required to evaluate the issue, consider its complexities and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.
  • The "Analyze an Argument" task requires you to evaluate an argument according to specific instructions. You’ll need to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents.

The two 30-minute tasks are complementary. The Issue task requires you to construct your own argument, while the Argument task requires you to evaluate someone else's argument.

Preparing for the Analytical Writing measure

Everyone — even the most practiced and confident of writers — should spend time preparing for the Analytical Writing measure to understand the skills measured and how the tasks are scored. It may also be useful to review the scoring guides, sample topics, scored sample essay responses and rater commentary for each task.

The tasks in the Analytical Writing measure relate to a broad range of subjects — from the fine arts and humanities to the social and physical sciences — but don’t require specific content knowledge. Each task has been tested by actual GRE test takers to ensure that it possesses several important characteristics, including the following:

  • GRE test takers, regardless of their field of study or special interests, understood the task and could easily respond to it.
  • The task elicited the kinds of complex thinking and persuasive writing that university faculty consider important for success in graduate school.
  • The responses were varied in content and in the way the writers developed their ideas.

Published topic pools for the Analytical Writing measure

To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing measure, the GRE Program has published the entire pool of tasks from which your test tasks will be selected. You might find it helpful to review the Issue and Argument pools:

  • Issue Topic Pool (PDF)
  • Argument Topic Pool (PDF)  (the Argument task was removed from the General Test beginning September 22, 2023)

Test-taking strategies for the Analytical Writing measure (in the General Test beginning September 22, 2023)

  • Before taking the GRE General Test, review the strategies, sample topics, sample essay responses with rater commentary, and scoring guide for the task. This will give you a deeper understanding of how raters evaluate essays and the elements they're looking for in an essay.
  • It is important to budget your time. Within the 30-minute time limit, allow sufficient time to consider the issue and the specific instructions, plan a response, and compose your essay. You want your essay response to be the best possible example of your writing that you can produce under the testing conditions.
  • Save a few minutes at the end of the timed task to check for obvious errors. An occasional spelling or grammatical error won’t affect your score, but serious and persistent errors detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your score accordingly.

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Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay

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How to Use the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Score

The AWA score helps you select applicants for admission and diagnose additional writing instruction.

The Analytical Writing Assessment score can be used to select applicants for admission to your school and as a diagnostic tool in recommending or requiring additional instruction in writing.

The following guidelines should be kept in mind when using the AWA:

  • Use multiple criteria when evaluating an applicant, recognizing that the AWA is only one indicator of academic readiness.
  • Use the AWA scoring guide (detailed below) as your basis for score interpretation.
  • Consider that the scores are based on 30-minute, first-draft writing samples. They are not comparable to prepared essays that may be submitted with a school application.
  • Do not make distinctions among applicants on the basis of a small scoring distinction—one point or less apart.
  • Conduct a validity study to ensure that the AWA scores you require are appropriate. The free Validity Study Service is available to help you conduct your study.

How AWA Is Scored

AWA essays are given two independent ratings, one of which may be performed by an automated essay-scoring engine. The automated essay-scoring engine is an electronic system that evaluates more than 50 structural and linguistic features, including organization of ideas, syntactic variety, and topical analysis.

If the two ratings differ by more than one point, another evaluation by an expert reader is required to resolve the discrepancy and determine the final score. 

College and university faculty members trained as readers for the AWA will consider the following:

  • Overall quality of ideas about the issue and argument presented
  • Overall ability to organize, develop, and express those ideas
  • The relevant supporting reasons and examples used
  • Ability to control the elements of standard written English

In considering the elements of standard written English, readers are trained to be sensitive and fair in evaluating the responses of examinees whose first language is not English. 

AWA Scoring Guide

Analysis of an argument.

Download the  Analysis of an Argument Scoring Guide (pdf).

A Score of 6 Is Outstanding —A cogent, well-articulated critique of the argument, demonstrating mastery of the elements of effective writing, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Clearly identifies and insightfully analyzes important features of the argument
  • Develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them smoothly with clear transitions
  • Effectively supports the main points of the critique
  • Demonstrates superior control of language, including diction and syntactic variety and the conventions of standard written English. There may be minor flaws.

A Score of 5 Is Strong —A well-developed critique of the argument, demonstrating good control of the elements of effective writing, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Clearly identifies important features of the argument and analyzes them in a generally thoughtful way
  • Develops ideas clearly, organizes them logically, and connects them with appropriate transitions
  • Sensibly supports the main points of the critique
  • Demonstrates clear control of language, including diction and syntactic variety
  • Demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English, but may have minor flaws

A Score of 4 Is Adequate —A competent critique of the argument, demonstrating adequate control of the elements of effective writing, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Identifies and capably analyzes important features of the argument
  • Develops and organizes ideas satisfactorily, but may not always connect them with transitions
  • Supports the main points of the critique
  • Demonstrates adequate control of language, including diction and syntactic variety, but may lack syntactic variety
  • Displays control of the conventions of standard written English, but may have some flaws

A Score of 3 Is Limited —A competent but clearly flawed critique of the argument, demonstrating some control of the elements of effective writing, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Does not identify or analyze most of the important features of the argument, although some analysis is present
  • Is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas
  • Offers support of little relevance and value for points of the critique
  • Uses language imprecisely and/or lacks sentence variety
  • Contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

A Score of 2 Is Seriously Flawed —A paper demonstrating serious weakness in analytical writing skills, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Fails to show an understanding of and does not identify or analyze the main features of the argument
  • Does not develop ideas or is disorganized
  • Provides few, if any, relevant or reasonable supports
  • Has serious, frequent problems in the use of language and sentence structure
  • Contains numerous errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that interfere with meaning

A Score of 1 Is Fundamentally Deficient —A paper demonstrating fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing skills, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Provides little evidence of the ability to understand and analyze the argument or to develop an organized response to it
  • Has severe and persistent errors in language and sentence structure
  • Contains a pervasive pattern of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics thus resulting in incoherence

A Score of 0 Is Unscorable —A paper that is totally illegible or obviously not written on the assigned topic.

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GMAT Analytical Writing: All About the GMAT Essay and How to Prepare For It

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Yup, the rumors are true: you’ll encounter a 30-minute GMAT analytical writing section on test day. But while analytical writing can seem tough at first, finding out exactly what’s expected and how to attack it for a maximum score will do a lot to make the GMAT essay feel manageable! In this post, we’ll take a look at what you need to know to master the GMAT AWA.

Table of Contents

Introduction to gmat analytical writing, what to expect for gmat analytical writing, scoring for gmat analytical writing.

  • How to Approach the GMAT AWA (Strategy and Tips)

Breakdown by Section

Example gmat essays, gmat awa and business school.

You may be thinking: why on earth would the GMAT even want to test my writing skills? In the modern global business world, you will always have contacts whom you know primarily through writing (email, reports, publications, etc.). Similarly, many people important for your advancement will meet you the first time through your writing. You need to be able to make a strong first impression in your writing, through the arguments you present.

On your GMAT writing assignment, the test will present an argument, often in the context of a newspaper editorial or the statement of a company. The nature of this argument will generally allow you to argue for either side, and the side you choose does not affect your score. You will have 30 minutes to read the prompt and construct your essay. Later, your essay will be graded by both a computer and a person on a scale of 0 to 6; your AWA test score will be an average of these two scores.

Don’t forget the main purpose of this task: to measure your GMAT analytical writing skills. This means that whether you argue for or against the argument, your job is to analyze the argument. You’ll need to consider questions such as:

  • What are the assumptions of the argument, and how strong are they?
  • What sort of facts would strengthen or weaken the argument?
  • Are there alternative explanations or perspectives that would explain the facts in question better?

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Both the computer and the human reviewer are looking for particular elements in a good GMAT AWA essay. In short: a successful Analysis of an Argument essay will be clear and cogently argued; it will present the individual critiques in a logically consistent order; it will identify all the points in need of consideration, and it will use word choice and variety of syntax to effectively communicate.

A lot of students wonder: Are spelling, grammar, and punctuation important on the GMAT analytical writing? Will they make or break your score? They are pretty important—luckily, your GMAT SC correction practice will serve you well in this regard. But you can’t leave these elements up to chance: practice correcting your essays (more on this below), and always, always leave a few minutes at the end of the section to proofread your essay.

Remember, you’ll only have 30 minutes for the entire essay. This means that, while you’ll spend the bulk of your time actually writing, you should still set aside around 3-5 minutes at the beginning of the task for planning, then leave another 3-5 minutes at the end to read over and make minor corrections to what you’ve written. These seemingly small actions can have a big impact on your score! But practicing—and following the instructions—is key to mastering the pacing here.

AWA Directions

Throughout the GMAT, knowing the directions ahead of time gives you an edge because you don’t have to spend time reading them on test day. This advantage is compounded on the AWA test section because the instructions are substantial: it’s a lot to read, so it’s that much less to read on test day. Moreover, the “post-argument” paragraph enumerates skills that will be important to practice and master, so you walk into test day armed and ready with your “analysis toolbox” prepared.

With that in mind, here are the directions that precede every AWA argument task:

analytical writing assessment examples

The first bullet point tells us: a good AWA essay is well-organized, has a natural flow from point to point, and is clear and unambiguous about what it is saying. Those are all important points to keep in mind.

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The second bullet point reminds us: what they present will be, in all likelihood, a flawed argument, but what you must create is a cogent and clear argument, and that will necessarily involve providing clear and relevant support. It’s not enough simply to assert something badly: you must provide justification for what you are saying.

The final bullet points may appear enigmatic: “control the elements of standard written English.” What does that mean?

Well, first of all, it means no grammar or syntax mistakes . It also means varying the sentence structure —some simple sentences (noun + verb), some with two independent clauses (noun + verb + and/but/or + noun + verb), some with dependent clauses, some with infinitive phrases, some with participial phrases, etc. Finally, it means choosing the right words and the right tone : the tone should be skeptical toward the prompt argument and persuasive toward the points you are making, but not arrogant or dogmatic in any way.

The following paragraph always appears after the argument prompt. This is the real meat-and-potatoes of the AWA directions:

analytical writing assessment examples

First of all, notice it give you one clear task: “Be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument.” Then, it lists several strategies that you might employ in your analysis. Don’t feel compelled to use every one of these in every AWA essay, though you should be using most of them in most essays.

If you’ve only taken standardized tests like the ACT or the SAT before, you may find AWA scoring slightly strange. GMAT Analytical Writing affects your overall score differently than essays on other exams do. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a good GMAT analytical writing score on the GMAT is, as well as how important AWA test scores are to your overall GMAT score.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Scoring System

First, let’s get an important point out of the way: The AWA test score does not affect your overall GMAT score . Instead, it’s included as a separate category on your score report.

Although you won’t have an exact breakdown of your scores for each element, the GMAT analytical writing assessment is looking at your abilities in roughly four categories:

  • Quality of Ideas
  • Organization
  • Writing Style
  • Grammar and Usage

Based on your overall work, you’ll receive a score from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

So just who decides where your essay falls within each of these four categories? First of all, a computer does. This is a bit surprising to most students when they first learn about it—after all, how can a computer evaluate something as subjective as writing? Well, remember that you’re not being scored on poetry here. Instead, the computer looks at the organization, syntax, and analytical aspects—things the GMAT algorithm is pretty good at doing.

Then, a trained evaluator will score the essay based on the general development of your ideas and written expression. The GMAT then averages these scores into your overall AWA score. Don’t worry about huge discrepancies in scores between the human and the computer graders, though: if the scores have more than a one-point difference, another human grader comes in to help set the final score.

GMAT AWA Percentiles

If you’re wondering, for example, how a GMAT analytical writing score of 4.5 compares to other test-takers’ scores, you’ll want to look at the GMAT AWA percentiles . GMAC regularly updates this information so that you can see what percentage of previous test-takers received each score.

How to Score Your Practice GMAT Essays

Scoring your own GMAT writing can be a little bit like trying to scratch your own back: it’s hard to see exactly where you are. But it can be done! By breaking down each component of your sample AWA essay, grading it, and averaging those grades, you can get some idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Magoosh even has a GMAT AWA scoring rubric you can use for this purpose.

How to Approach the GMAT AWA

Once you know what to expect from GMAT analytical writing, it’s time to start implementing strategies that will help you maximize your score on this section. Keep coming back to these throughout your GMAT prep to ensure that you’re staying on track and pushing your GMAT writing to the next level!

Strategies for the AWA

Here are the tips that will support your success on the GMAT’s AWA:

  • Recognize Unstated Assumptions : Recognizing assumptions is essential for the Critical Reasoning questions, and it will also serve you well on attacking the prompt argument in your AWA.
  • Know the Directions : This a matter not only of knowing what they say but also, more importantly, understanding the various options you have for analyzing the argument. This list of analytical strategies is always given in the paragraph that follows the prompt argument. It’s important to get familiar with this “analytical toolbox”, so it is yours to employ on test day.
  • Recognize the Common Flaw Patterns : GMAT AWA prompt arguments often contain one of six types of flaws . Learn to spot these patterns, so you are ready on test day.
  • Plan Before You Write : This is obvious to some test-takers. Your first task is to find objections to and flaws in the prompt argument. Create a list of flaws. Then, select the 2-4 of those that are most relevant, that would be the most persuasive talking points. Once you have your list of insightful flaws, then you are ready to write.
  • Paragraph #1: State that the prompt argument is flawed. Briefly enumerate the flaws you will examine, in the order that you will discuss them.
  • Paragraph #2 (or #2 & #3): Sticking to that same order, analyze each flaw in detail, explaining your reasoning why each is a serious weakness of the argument.
  • Last Paragraph: Suggest improvements, which are the reverse of the flaws (i.e. “This argument would be considerably stronger if it did such-and-such to remove flaw #2.”). Close by restating that is it a weak argument.
  • Simple sentence, one independent clause: Jack went to town .
  • Sentence with two independent clauses: Jill went to town and Jack stayed home . (Two independent clauses can be joined by “and”, “or”, “but”, “yet”, “so”, etc.)
  • Sentence with an independent clause and one (or more) dependent clauses: Jack went to the town where Jill lives .
  • Sentence with an infinitive phrase: Jack went to that town to see Jill .
  • Sentence with a participial phrase: Hoping to see Jack, Jill went to town .

A good essay should not have two sentences in a row with the same structure.

  • Vague Language: The words “few”, “many”, “more”, “less”, and “some”, by themselves without numerical qualification, can be vague. Always consider the range of possibilities contained in vague words comparing quantity or size.
  • Inappropriate Comparisons: This form presents a premise and conclusion for Thing #1, which is often quite clear and undisputable. Then, it argues, Thing #2 is very similar, so the premise and conclusion should apply to Thing #2 as well. Depending on the situation, the comparison may not be apt, and pointing out Thing #2 differs from Thing #1 in ways relevant to the argument can expose an essential flaw.
  • Cause/Effect Errors: Many arguments want to make the case that “A causes B.” Whenever the argument “A causes B” is presented, some alternative interpretations to consider are (1) the reverse, “B causes A”; or (2) “A and B are both caused by new thing C”, or (3) “A and B, for a variety of reasons, often appear together, but one does not cause the other.” (This last interpretation is summed up succinctly in the sentence: “Correlation does not imply causality.”) Learn to spot arguments that draw conclusions of causality, and questions whether that’s the correct relationship.
  • Overconfident Conclusions: Confidence = good. Overconfidence = bad. If you read the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal or the Economist magazine, you will notice the kind of tone the GMAT favors: thoughtful, balanced, and measured. Extreme conclusions are seldom correct on the GMAT. Any AWA prompt that presents a conclusion with God-given certainty is too strong, and this is a flaw that needs to be addressed.
  • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! : When you proofread, you have to consider several levels simultaneous: Is every word spelled correctly? Is every structure grammatically correct? Does the argument logically flow? Unfortunately (or fortunately!) you are not allowed to read your essay aloud in the testing center. What I do recommend, though: silently mouth the words, as if you are carefully pronouncing each word, even though you are not making any sounds. When you move your mouth & tongue, you are engaging more of your brain than when you are simply reading silently with your eyes, and you are more likely to catch subtle mistakes.

Those AWA test tips are all important to keep in mind for your GMAT writing. But when you actually sit down at the computer on test day, what should you do? Here’s the process to use to get the most out of your 30 minutes with the GMAT AWA, including a more in-depth GMAT writing template!

By the time you sit down on test day, you should have read the directions to the AWA (they’re posted above—take another look!), so you won’t need to waste time reading them again. Instead, dive straight into AWA brainstorming . As you brainstorm, list the argument’s flaws; then evaluate those flaws to find which objections are the strongest.

Write an Introduction

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with each GMAT AWA introduction . Start by stating where the passage is from. Then, focus on two main tasks: summarizing the argument and stating why it’s flawed. Keep it short and sweet; three sentences are enough to get your main points set up!

Construct Your Body Paragraphs

These will make up the lion’s share of your essay, so you’ll spend most of your time writing body paragraphs. Here’s how to go about doing that:  

  • Identification: Focus on a Premise: The first thing you will need to do in your paragraph is to identify what part of the argument you intend to analyze. The best way to do this is by simply summarizing the premise in the argument. You can state that it is flawed at this point, but it is not necessary. You’ll have plenty of time to do that, and the reader already knows what will happen from what you told them in the introduction. Paraphrase, summarize, and use synonyms to present the premise—don’t copy word for word—and this is a great way to lay the groundwork for your analysis.
  • State the Obvious: Flaws Hurt Arguments : This is a common step skipped in student essays. We must return to the larger picture. Students assume that everything will make sense once the flaw is exposed, but this is far too brash. We can’t just expect our reader to “get it.” We need to speak plainly and directly about how the flaw weakens the argument, and more specifically, the recommendation, plan, or conclusion of the argument. Not all flaws weaken arguments in the same way so be specific about what aspect of the conclusion is questionable.
  • Do Good: Improve and Strengthen the Argument : Now that you’ve taken the time to analyze the argument, break down a flaw, and explain the result of that flaw to the conclusion, time to build it back up. Approach the essay as a concerned and interested party, responding to the argument with sympathy. Don’t just be destructive. Give suggestions for improvement. And if you don’t like the conclusion, peer into the heart of what it is trying to accomplish and recommend a way to get there.

Conclude the Essay

First of all, keep in mind that you should not dwell in the conclusion. The heart of your essay, what really matters toward your score, is in the body paragraphs. These should be bulky and in-depth, but the conclusion should be short and to the point. Wrap things up in a timely manner so that you can get to the business of editing and revising your essay.

To keep things manageable and short, don’t go into the details. You only need to recap the major problems in the argument. Sometimes it is enough to say that there are major problems in the argument. Ignore the desire to repeat all the main points that you covered in the body paragraphs. This will only take extra space and waste precious time.

Finally, recommend a way to achieve the goal stated in the article. It is important to approach the analysis of the argument as an interested party. You don’t want to be wholly negative. For one, you will write a better analysis if you imagine yourself tied to the argument in some way, and two, the prompt asks you to strengthen the argument. Find some general evidence that will make the argument more convincing or make it irrefutable. Suggest a change so that the logic stands on firmer ground.

A GMAT analytical writing sample essay, whether well done or flawed in itself, can help you polish your own GMAT writing and bring your essays to the next level. The important part of reviewing example GMAT essays is in analyzing them (and expert analysis is even more helpful, particularly at the beginning).

Where can you find sample GMAT analytical writing prompts? Easy! The GMAC (the GMAT test-maker) actually provides all possible AWA essay topics on their website. So if you need examples of analytical questions for the GMAT , look no further!

So just how important are the AWA scores for business school admissions? We certainly could argue that the GMAT Analytical Writing score is not so important. It’s undeniable that the Quantitative sections and Verbal sections, which contribute to the overall GMAT score, are considerably more important than the separate GMAT writing score . Arguably, the fact that the AWA section was “cut in half” when IR was added in 2012 is a further indication of the relative importance of the GMAT essay and its score.

It’s true that Business school adcoms rely on the Quant, Verbal and Composite scores significantly more than the GMAT writing score. In fact, recent evidence suggest that adcoms also rely on the IR score significantly more than the GMAT essay score.

But while it’s true that, in your GMAT preparation , Quant and Verbal and even IR deserve more attention than the AWA, it’s also true you can’t completely neglect AWA. The difference between a 5 or 6 as your GMAT Analytic Writing score will not make or break a business school admission decision, but having an essay score below a 4 could hurt you.

The purpose of the AWA is to see how well you write, how effectively you express yourself in written form. This is vital in the modern business world, where you may conduct extensive deals with folks you only know via email and online chatting. Some of your important contacts in your business career will know you primarily through your writing, and for some, your writing might be their first experience of you. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when this first impression is in written form, the professional importance of producing high-quality writing is clear.

While you don’t need to write like Herman Melville, you need to be competent. A GMAT Analytic Writing score below 4 may cause business schools to question your competence. That’s why it’s important to have at least a decent showing in AWA.

For Non-Native English Speakers

In particular, if English is not your native language, I realize that this makes the AWA essay all the more challenging, but of course, a solid performance on the AWA by a non-native speaker would be a powerful testament to how well that student has learned English . Toward this end, non-native speakers should practice writing the AWA essay and try to get high-quality feedback on their essays.

Devoting 30% or more of your available study time to AWA is likely unwise, but devoting 0% to AWA might also hurt you. Between those, erring on the low side would be appropriate. If, in a three-month span, you write half a dozen practice essays , and get generally positive feedback on them with respect to the GMAT standards, that should be plenty of preparation.

The GMAT analytical writing can feel like a slog when you first encounter it: it requires deep focus and analysis, and it’s not what most students have spent their prep time working on. But with a bit of preparation, your GMAT essays can take your admissions file to the next level by boosting your AWA test score significantly!

By including GMAT writing in your overall GMAT prep schedule, you’ll ensure that this section of the test doesn’t become a drag on your application—and helps, rather than hurts, your shot at your dream school. Good luck!

Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book . Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS , is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin’s Press , while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND , co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn’t strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter , Instagram , or Facebook !

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Gmat analytical writing assessment.

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT contains one essay prompt and is 30 minutes long. The AWA tests your ability to analyze a logical argument and then write a coherent and convincing essay, evaluating the argument.

The topic on the argument essay can be extracted from a wide range of topics related to business. However, prior knowledge about the topic would not be required. The AWA only tests your ability to analyze the argument and write a cogent essay.

The AWA score would be published within 20 calendar days from the day of your exam and would be a part of your Official GMAT Score Report. If you feel that the score obtained on the AWA does not reflect your performance, you can choose to request rescoring your essay. Rescoring the essay is possible only once and requires additional payment. For rescoring, you need to make a request within 6 months from the date of your exam. AWA rescoring requests can result in a score increase or decrease.

Topics Tested on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section

The AWA section tests a candidate’s ability to analyze a given argument, identify the inherent flaws in it, and provide logical and reasonable solutions in the form of an essay. The clarity in reasoning and coherence of thought are major assessment criteria for the AWA. The essay also needs to conform to elements of standard written English.

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GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Scoring Pattern

The Analytical Writing Assessment section is scored on a range of 0 to 6, in increments of 0.5 points.

The essay is evaluated by a human and also by a machine algorithm. If there is a difference between the way the human and the machine have scored your essay, a second human evaluator is brought in, and your essay score may be adjusted. You will receive only one essay score, which is an average of the evaluations.

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analytical writing assessment examples

analytical writing assessment examples

analytical writing assessment examples

What is the GMAT analytical test?

In the Analytical Writing Assessment section or the essay section, you have to analyze an argument, identify the flaws in the argument and write an essay about it. Prior specific knowledge is not required.

Is analytical writing important in GMAT?

Analytical writing assessment (AWA)is important on the GMAT. Even though the AWA does not contribute to the composite GMAT score ( 200-800), it is used by different universities and departments during the application selection process. The writing skills tested in the AWA would prove beneficial even during your actual course as many programs require students to submit essays as a part of their coursework.

What should I study for GMAT Analytical?

In the Analytical Writing Assessment section or the essay, you have to analyze an argument, identify the flaws in the argument and write an essay about it. Prior specific knowledge is not required. You should practice evaluating arguments, understanding and working using relevant templates for these essays and writing the essays, all within 30 minutes (time available for this section on the GMAT).

What is the syllabus for the GMAT Analytical section?

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How to Write AW...

How to Write AWA in GMAT: Best Tips for GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

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The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-based test designed to gauge your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English. The exam is taken by students interested in management courses.

The GRE essay section is also referred to as the AWA or the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment which experts believe is one of the most neglected sections of the GRE test. Most test-takers believe that they can master the section in a few days at the most. The AWA section of the GMAT is designed to gauge the student's command of the language and writing skills in English.

We have brought to you the best tips and tricks suggested by GMAT experts to write a great analytical writing assessment in GMAT, along with AWA GMAT essay samples!

What is the GMAT AWA Section?

The Analytical Writing Assessment Section of the GMAT exam requires that you analyse the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument. Your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas through an essay in English is measured.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section consists of one 30-minute writing task—Analysis of an Argument. The arguments on the test include topics of general interest related to business, or a variety of other subjects. Specific knowledge of the essay topic is not necessary; only your capacity to write analytically is assessed.

What is the Difference between the GRE and GMAT Exam?

Sample AWA Essay Examples

Sample GMAT AWA essay topics will help you set benchmarks and improve your writing along the same lines. We strongly suggest that you read sample essays regularly during your preparation phase for the GMAT. You can read sample essays from the following resources:

  • Sample Issue Essays from ETS
  • Sample Argument Essays from ETS

The essays on the ETS website have been written by students.

You can use these essays as benchmarks to assess your own levels of writing.

Know Everything about the GMAT AWA Template!

Tips to Write AWA in GMAT

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) provides clear instructions on how to plan and write your essay. Students must learn these instructions long before Test Day and do not waste precious testing time reading them while the clock ticks.

Given below are the tips for writing a great GMAT AWA:

1.  Confine to Objectivity in Analytical Writing

The AWA instruction reads “In this section, you will be asked to write a critique of the argument presented. You are NOT being asked to present your own views on the subject.” A critique is an objective criticism of the argument in the prompt. Including your opinion would be providing a subjective analysis, which is not the point of analytical writing.

2.  Analyse the Argument's Assumptions and Supporting Evidence

Every GMAT AWA argument comprises a conclusion and pieces of evidence, just like GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR) questions. For both AWA and CR, the gaps between those pieces of evidence and the conclusion must be bridged by an assumption. Your critique of the argument will discuss the flaws you identify in its reasoning. A common mistake is to equate assumptions with flaws. That consistent pattern provides you with your thesis statement; “The author’s argument is flawed because it is based on assumptions for which she does not provide sufficient supporting evidence.”

Suggestd: All about GMAT Reading Comprehension!

3.  Draw a Conclusion from your Thesis Statement

This thesis statement also serves as an appropriate conclusion. By definition, a thesis statement provides a summary of the main point of the essay. Remember that the conclusion of any passage, argument, claim, or essay can be found by asking, “What’s the point?” So once you’ve crafted that thesis statement, shuffle the language a bit and you have a conclusion.

4.  Avoid Hesitation in the AWA- It's About Confidence

Your AWA essay should have a formal, confident tone. You have dissected the argument and are now presenting your objective findings. Third-person pronouns (he, she, one) are appropriate in a GMAT essay. First- (I, we, us) and second-person (you) are inappropriate; in fact, unnecessary self-reference (I believe) is part of what makes the first example above less effective than the second.

The phrases “somewhat vague” and “rather wordy” have a softer impact than simply saying “vague” or “wordy.” Avoid these qualifiers in your GMAT essay:

  • pretty (as in pretty much)
  • might be (as opposed to is/are)
  • may be (as opposed to is/are)

This is not an absolute list, and these words are not totally off-limits. But be sure to use purposeful words and avoid unnecessary qualification.

5.  Be Concise

Using active verbs and avoiding qualifiers automatically makes your writing concise. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. Remember that graders read hundreds and hundreds of essays, and they spend just a minute or so reading each one. You want the grader to see your points right away, so don’t crowd your essay with unnecessary descriptors.

6.  Try to be Polished, not Perfect

Graders can tell whether you had a plan before you started typing, so spend time planning before you write. If you break down the argument, decide on your points, and arrange your ideas into paragraphs when the clock starts, then you will have written a polished AWA essay before 30 minutes have elapsed. Remember that formal writing is much more structured than texts and speech.

All about GMAT Vocabulary

7.  Use Language you are Comfortable With

Now that I’ve given you a checklist of style tips to use on the Analytical Writing Assessment, the final point is that you must remember to be yourself. Use language you are comfortable with and trust your own voice. Do not try to write as if you were someone else.

How to Prepare for the GMAT AWA?

We hope you got a clear idea about how to proceed with preparing and writing the AWA in GMAT. Make sure to follow the guidelines highlighted in the blog above and prepare accordingly. You can further seek assistance through our free GMAT prep resources to ace your GMAT prep!

Frequently Asked Questions about AWA in GMAT

How many words should we write in GMAT AWA?

To hit around 500 words, you should have written about 30-35 sentences of 15-20 words each. With sufficient practice, your essays will reach the desired mark and you will not have to actually count the number of words on the day of your exam. At this point, resist the temptation to add any new points.

How do you start an AWA introduction?

Your introduction should not be long. Encyclopedic texts require long introductions; thirty-minute essays require a short introduction. An effective introduction need only be a few sentences.

What is the GMAT age limit?

GMAT doesn't have any strict age or academic qualification requirement to take the exam. The only GMAT exam eligibility that the candidates need to be concerned about is having an undergraduate degree.

What are the preparation strategies for the Reading Comprehension GMAT?

Your GMAT Verbal Ability score largely depends on Reading Comprehension. Here are some foolproof ways to structure and time your preparation for GMAT Reading Comprehension: 1) Skim the passage [1 minute] 2) Read the questions [1 minute] 3) Read the Passage in detail [2 minutes] 4) Answer questions [1 minute] 5) Identify the outliers [0.25 minutes]

How much does GMAT cost in India?

The GMAT computer based test costs about Rs 20,600.

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Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

You can download for free the list of current Argument essay prompts used on the GMAT. This PDF file is provided by the GMAC. Although it is lengthy, we recommend that you read through the entire list of essay topics in advanced of taking the GMAT. You should also pick at random at least 20 topics and spend five minutes brainstorming and outlining an essay. Furthermore, we suggest that you pick at random at least five more topics and spend 30 minutes writing out a full essay.

GMAT Analytical Writing Approach and Scoring

Your essay is judged on how well-structured and well-supported it is, and to a lesser extent on your usage of standard written English. The essay should be written in a straightforward, somewhat formulaic manner. A creative, nuanced writing style will not be rewarded. You must type your essay into the bare-bones word processor provided. Copy, cut, paste, redo, and undo are the only functions available. We suggest that you spend a few minutes brainstorming and outlining your essay before you begin writing. Also be sure to leave a few minutes at the end to proof-read your essay.

The AWA section does not factor whatsoever into your main 200-800 GMAT score. You get a separate AWA score on a scale from 0 to 6 , in half-point increments. Your essay is graded separately by two readers: a college faculty member and a computer scoring program. If the two scores are within one point of each other, as is typically the case, the two scores are averaged to derive your AWA score. If the two scores are more than one point apart, however, another human reader will evaluate your essay. The AWA section is not particularly difficult . In fact, 13% of test takers score a perfect 6.0 and 82% score 4.0 or above. Because of this, most business schools primarily use the AWA score to ensure that foreign students can write well and to verify that the essays included on your business school applications are consistent with your AWA writing abilities.

Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Essay Topic

Let’s try a sample Argument essay topic. Brainstorm flaws on your own and perhaps even write out a full essay before viewing the explanation and sample essay.

The following appeared as part of an article in the business section of a local newspaper:

“Ronnie’s Auto Body Shop commenced business four months ago at the location formerly occupied by the Mystique Beauty Parlor. Ronnie’s Auto must be doing well at this location, because it intends to open a big body shop in an adjacent town. Mystique, on the other hand, has seen a lower volume of business in its first year at its new location compared to the prior year at its former location. Mystique definitely erred in shifting to its new location; its former location is a better site.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Explanation to Problem

As with all Argument essay prompts, this prompt contains several flaws. Let’s briefly outline the problems with this argument before presenting a full essay that encompasses these points. The sample essay that follows would receive a top score of 6.

  • Illogical comparison between Ronnie’s Auto Body Shop and Mystique Beauty Parlor. These are very different types of businesses, and a good location for one may be a poor location for the other.
  • Assumes that Ronnie’s Auto Body Shop has been successful, but offers insufficient evidence for this. Ronnie’s Auto may be opening a big body shop in an adjacent town because the current location is poor.
  • Inappropriately concludes that Mystique erred in shifting locations. Once again, offers insufficient evidence for this. Lower volume of business is vaguely defined, may not be a long-term concern, and perhaps is not even relevant.

Sample Essay

The author offers a flawed argument in claiming that Mystique erred in shifting locations and that its former location is a better site. The author offers insufficient evidence for these claims while providing an illogical comparison. In particular, the author assumes that Ronnie’s Auto Body Shop has been successful in Mystique’s former location. Second, the author overlooks the differences in the two business types. Third, the author inappropriately equates a lower volume of business to a poor decision by Mystique regarding location. Let’s elaborate on each of these issues in turn.

One problem in the argument is that the author assumes that Ronnie’s Auto is doing well at its current location. The only evidence that the author offers in support of this claim is that Ronnie’s Auto intends to open a big body shop in an adjacent town. But there are many possible reasons as to why Ronnie’s Auto plans to open a large shop in another town. Most notably, perhaps the existing location is performing poorly and Ronnie’s Auto plans to close this location after opening up elsewhere.

A second problem in the argument is the apples-to-oranges comparison between an auto body shop and a beauty parlor. The customer base for the two businesses is probably very different. Even if Ronnie’s Auto is doing well at its current location, a totally different type of business with a totally different customer base would not necessarily do well at the same location. Perhaps Ronnie’s Auto is located in a commercial area with similar types of businesses (e.g. other auto repair and parts businesses). Mystique Beauty Parlor is unlikely to thrive in such a location, since its customers would probably not want to receive beauty treatments in such an area.

Finally, a third problem is that the author concludes based solely on “lower volume of business” that Mystique erred in shifting locations. But how much lower is Mystique’s volume of business in the new location? Perhaps the drop in business volume is very small. In fact, we would expect some drop when moving to a new location, as it takes time to reestablish a customer base. The new location may hold much greater long-term promise, and future business volume may be much higher. We also do not know what volume of business really means. By volume, does the author mean customers or revenue? Either way, a lower volume of business does not necessarily mean lower profits. Perhaps Mystique’s lease and other costs are lower at the new location, resulting in higher profits. If so, we cannot claim that Mystique make a mistake in moving. But even if the move did result in lower profits, the move was not a mistake unless Mystique’s owners have this as a primary concern. Perhaps profit is secondary to Mystique’s owners, and they moved the beauty parlor to a location that affords them other benefits such as a better quality of life.

In conclusion, the author’s claims that Mystique erred in shifting locations and that its former location is better are unsupported. As discussed above, there are far too many unknown variables for the author to make such a definite conclusion. Had the author considered the points discussed above, the argument could have been presented more thoughtfully.

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How to approach every gmat essay topic: analysis and tips.

analytical writing assessment examples

The essay portion of the GMAT, or the Analytical Writing Assessment, is unlike most of the essays you’ve written for college. You’re given a single, one-paragraph prompt containing some kind of argument, and rather than picking a side and building your own case, you have to critique how that argument is made .

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work of analyzing GMAT essay questions for you. In this post, we’ll tell you where to find the best GMAT essay prompts and give you our in-depth breakdown of the essay task, including an analysis of examples from each type of prompt you’ll encounter. Finally, we’ll give you some tips for how to practice with GMAT essay topics for maximum improvement on your own essays. With this expert analysis, you’ll know how to tackle any GMAT essay prompt that comes your way on test day.

GMAT prompts are rea

The GMAT Essay Task

As stated above, the GMAT AWA section gives you a brief one-paragraph prompt containing some kind of argument. While the prompt changes from test to test (more on this below), the directions are always the same, so you should memorize them in advance . I’ve pasted them for you below:

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

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What It’s Really Asking You to Do

In other words, you have only one task for the GMAT essay: to write a critique of the given argument. Invariably, every single GMAT argument will have flaws . Here are the most common types of flaws embedded within the arguments:

  • Faulty assumptions: The most common type of argumentative flaw in GMAT prompts.
  • Inadequate evidence: If an argument gives you a piece of evidence, it almost certainly has some kind of issue with it—perhaps simply that it doesn’t necessarily support the ultimate conclusion.
  • Sampling or statistical issues : For instance, an argument might state that a certain population is representative of a larger whole when that can’t be claimed for certain.
  • Vague words , such as “many” or “few.”
  • Unsuitable comparisons : Stating that just because something applies in one situation, that it will apply in another situation by default.
  • Presumed causation over correlation : Concluding that one thing caused another, without proof that they’re not merely correlated.
  • Information or considerations that have been overlooked: other considerations that haven’t been discussed.

Many GMAT essay prompts will contain more than one of these flaws. Your critique should consist of an in-depth analysis that exposes them, and suggests ways to improve.

The best approach is to pick apart the prompt bit-by-bit : point out each flaw the author makes, challenge it using your own reasoning and specific counterexamples that support your claims, and suggest ways the author could fix the flaw and thereby improve the validity of their conclusion.

Do not present your own views on the argument at hand. Regardless of the prompt, you should always make the case that the given argument is flawed—not whether or not you “agree.”

You don’t need to know any formal logic to write a top-scoring essay, but it helps to be familiar with a few terms related to the construction of an argument:

  • Claim:  The claim is the assertion or conclusion of the argument. In GMAT essay prompts, the main claim is often spelled out for you, preceded by a term like “thus” or “therefore.” There can also be sub-claims that support the broader, overall claim.
  • Evidence:  Claims are often supported in turn by  evidence —facts, statistics, and other data that the author brings up to support their perspective.
  • Warrant : The warrant is the reasoning that connects the evidence to the claim. This term can be used as a verb as well, EG: “The evidence doesn’t  warrant the claim” (if the evidence provided doesn’t logically support the author’s argument).
  • Counterargument : A counterargument is an argument that the “opposing side” might make in a debate. It can have its own sub-claims, warrants, and evidence, just like the original argument.
  • Rebuttal : A rebuttal goes a bit further—it engages directly with the first argument, arguing against or deconstructing it.

You don’t have to use these exact terms in every essay, but being familiar with the concepts they represent is crucial for both understanding the GMAT prompts and formulating your critique.

This parrot is critiquing the dog's argument.

How Your GMAT Essay Is Graded

You’re graded on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments , once by a human reader (usually an English or Communications professor) and once by a computerized grading program called E-Rater. If the two different scores differ by less than one point, the two scores will be averaged to get your final scaled score. If they differ by greater than one point, a second human reader will step in and grade the essay.

Both the human reader and E-Rater grade holistically, giving one final score under these guidelines:

6 = outstanding 5 = very good 4 = good 3 = adequate 2 = less than adequate 1 = poor 0 = no substantive response

Four general skill areas are taken into account: content (relevant, persuasive ideas, reasoning, and examples); organization (using an organized and cohesive structure to present your argument); language use (diction and syntax), and grammar .

It’s hard to assess the six-point scale in abstraction, so be sure to check out this official sample AWA prompt and top-scoring essay to see what kind of an essay gets a 6. You’ll see that the essay loosely follows a five-paragraph essay structure, with each body paragraph focusing on one logical flaw of the prompt. This is a perfectly good structure to replicate in your own essays. We recommend that you spend a 20 minutes or so studying what else this essay did well, so that you can replicate it in your own writing.

This is a lovely counter, but not a counterargument (thank you, thank you, I'll be here all night).

The GMAT Essay Topics Pool: How It Works

Fortunately, the GMAC releases a list of most of the official GMAT essay topics you’ll encounter on the Analytical Writing section. These prompts often center on debates from the business or political worlds and are sourced from the editorial and op-ed sections of magazines and newspapers, annual company reports, memorandums, proposals and the like.

You should use this list of official GMAT AWA topics in your prep, as they’re far better than any imitation prompts for a few reasons. Firstly, official practice prompts are by definition more realistic than any imitations. Second, there’s a (small) chance that you’ll encounter a prompt you’ve practiced on already on the real test. It’s a less than 1% chance, as there’s over 140 prompts on this list, and you still could get one that doesn’t appear here—but that’s better than no chance at all! Plus, with so many to choose from, it’s unlikely that you’ll run out of prompts to practice with.

Types of GMAT AWA Topics: Analysis of Examples

Now that we’ve gone over what the essay task is asking of you, let’s go over a few example GMAT Essay topics from the official list.

There aren’t any clear “categories” of prompts that would affect your analysis, but for a representative sample, I’ve picked one prompt from the business world (which is the most common) and one prompt from the political world (which is the second most common). Note that the way in which each argument is constructed doesn’t fall within such boundaries—”political” prompts can use the same flawed argumentative strategies as “business” prompts or “health and science” prompts, and so on.

Example 1: Megamart’s Business Plan

The following is part of a business plan created by the management of the Megamart grocery store:

“Our total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store. Clearly, the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping. The surest way to increase our profits over the next couple of years, therefore, is to add a clothing department along with an automotive supplies and repair shop. We should also plan to continue adding new departments and services, such as a restaurant and a garden shop, in subsequent years. Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

The first step is to identify the conclusion or main claim  of the argument: in this case, the conclusion is that Megamart should add a clothing department, automotive department, and more one-stop shopping conveniences in order to increase profits.

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Next, identify the supporting evidence and reasoning for this conclusion. One piece of evidence is “that total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store.” An adjacent piece of reasoning is that “the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping.” The author also states that “Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores.”

Finally, identify the logical flaws buried within the conclusion and the supporting evidence/reasoning.

For starters, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation : the author takes it for granted that the addition of the pharmacy caused the increase in sales, which may or may not be true.

Next, the author presumes that, because of this increase, the customer’s main concern is the convenience of one-stop shopping. This conclusion doesn’t logically follow —even if we do assume that the pharmacy caused the increase in sales, there could be many other reasons for this other than convenience: perhaps their pharmacy is less expensive than other competitors in the area, for example.

Moreover, even if customers do enjoy the convenience of a pharmacy in their grocery store, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they also want to get their car fixed there, to buy clothing there, to eat at a restaurant there, etc—they may have loyalty to other businesses for these services, or they may doubt the level of quality, and so on.

Plus, the expense is high for any business to install such new and varied arms: the cost of renovating their space, hiring and training new employees, ensuring that each sub-business is up to code, etc. How would they be able to keep costs low enough to entice shoppers to try out a new service and still cover the cost of the expenditure, let alone increase profits?

Overall, being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services may not give them a competitive advantage over other local stores at all, and certainly might not lead to increased profits. There are other flaws you could point out

You should also employ some counterexamples to back up your argument: for example, how even Target and Walmart stores—the epitomes of one-stop shopping—don’t have automotive repair shops within them, as this has no overlap with their core business (whereas groceries, for example, have a lot of overlap, so it made sense for them to start selling those). And while they do sometimes have restaurants within them, those are separate chain restaurants like Pizza Hut, with their own brand identity, operated independently and sharing the space by contractual agreement. This offers customers the opportunity to eat before or after shopping, and the potential for increased profits for both companies—while minimizing risk and expenditure for each.

Finally, you should suggest ways the author could fix the flaws in their argument : in this case, the management of Megamart could discuss why factors other than convenience are not at play in the 20% increase of sales since adding the pharmacy, to make a better case for causation over correlation.

body_grocerybananas

Example 2: Waymarsh State College Protestors

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:

“This past winter, 200 students from Waymarsh State College traveled to the state capitol building to protest against proposed cuts in funding for various state college programs. The other 12,000 Waymarsh students evidently weren’t so concerned about their education: they either stayed on campus or left for winter break. Since the group who did not protest is far more numerous, it is more representative of the state’s college students than are the protesters. Therefore the state legislature need not heed the appeals of the protesting students.”

Like many GMAT prompts, the conclusion is more or less spelled out for us , identified by the use of the word “therefore.” In this case, the conclusion is that the state legislature doesn’t need to heed the 200 protesting students.

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There are three main faulty assumptions in the reasoning : first, the author assumes that just because the other 12,000 students did not protest, this means they don’t share the same concerns. Next, the author uses this tenuous conclusion to claim that the group of non-protestors is more representative of the college student body as a whole—even though it’s still unproven that they have different beliefs that the protestors. Finally, the conclusion itself is a jump in reasoning: even granting that the protesting students are alone in their beliefs, that’s not sufficient grounds for the state legislature to ignore their appeals.

The issue with the first assumption is that just because the 12,000 students didn’t show up to protest does not necessarily mean that they “don’t care about their education” or that they agree with the funding cuts. Many of them could have been unaware of the cuts, or of the planned protests. Some might have been unable to attend the protests for a variety of reasons—difficulty of traveling to the state capital, the expenses associated with such travel or of getting out of any previously planned winter break trips, not being able to take time off from an on-campus job, and so on. It’s difficult to imagine that such a large percentage of the student body is truly uncaring when there are so many potential extenuating circumstances barring them from attending the protests.

It’s far more likely that there’s a diversity of opinion among the non-protesting group: for all the reasons stated above, they can’t be taken as a single, homogenous collective that shares one viewpoint just based on the fact that they didn’t (or couldn’t) attend the protest. So, even though only 1 in 60 students protested, that doesn’t mean that the other 59 are “representative” of the opinion that the budget cuts don’t matter. 

Lastly, even if we grant that the protestors are a non-representative minority, that certainly doesn’t mean that the legislature should simply ignore their concerns. A better basis for judgment is not how representative of the student body they are, but how justified their concerns are about the funding cuts to their school and how much of an impact these cuts will have. Will it make a significant impact on the quality of the education they receive? On the students’ preparedness for the world beyond? On their job prospects? Even if the rest of the students truly don’t care (which is already an outlandish presumption), that doesn’t justify the state legislature undercutting their education.

In fact, there are many forms of expressing one’s opinion other than in-person protesting, none of which are discussed here. The state legislature should take a poll of the student body for a truly “representative” sample of viewpoints. An online poll emailed out to all students is neither financially nor time-commitment prohibitive, like a protest at the state capitol is, and would thus be a much fairer way of measuring student opinion.

College building

GMAT Essay Topics: 3 Excellent Tips

No matter which of the GMAT essay questions you encounter on test day, the following tips will help you prepare.

#1: Time Your GMAT Practice Essays

When you’re working on practice GMAT essay topics, make sure you stick to a strict 30-minute time limit for your essay.

If you need to build up to writing within this time limit, you can start out by giving yourself extra time and then working your way down to 30 minutes. However, try not to only practice with extra time, or you’ll be unprepared for the real GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment.

#2: Type Your GMAT Practice Essays

To simulate the conditions of the computer-based GMAT, you should write all of your practice essays on a computer.

If possible, use the simple word processor in the free official GMATPrep Software to do every practice essay, or a very simple word processor like NotePad that doesn’t give you very much functionality. Though you will be able to use the normal copy, paste, undo, and redo shortcuts, you’ll still need to get used to the lack of other features that you may be accustomed to from Microsoft Word, Pages, or Google Docs, such as bolding and italics.

#3: Grade Your GMAT Practice Essays

Once you’ve written your practice GMAT essays, try to score them with the 6-point grading rubric and by comparing your writing to the sample essay provided by the GMAC. The point of grading your essays is not to feel bad that you didn’t live up to the ideals of a perfect essay score but instead to hone in on your weaknesses so you can improve. Whether it’s disorganized writing, not varying your sentence structure enough, running out of time, insufficient analysis, or some other issue entirely, you should identify the main issues with your essay, then focus your practice on improving those areas.

If you find yourself struggling to reach the same level of writing and analysis as the sample top-scoring essay, one additional option available to you is the official GMATWrite subscription. Each subscription includes two real GMAT essay prompts and the opportunity to write four essays. Your practice essays will be scored using E-Rater, the same automated essay-scoring engine used by the official GMAT exam. Once you submit an essay, you will receive a score, suggestions for improvement, and other relevant feedback.

Keep in mind that the AWA is the least important part of your GMAT score, and most people do well on the essay anyway, so budget your time (and money) accordingly.

A lot of GMAT prompts are from the business world—but you don't have to have business experience to understand them.

What’s Next?

Check out our more in-depth guide to the format, scoring, and other tips for the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment . Once you feel comfortable with the basics, head to our guide on GMAT essay templates that can help you get a top score on the AWA (coming soon). If you’re just getting started with your overall GMAT prep, you may want to go over what to expect on the all the other sections of the GMAT  as well.

Happy studying!

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analytical writing assessment examples

Author: Jess Hendel

Jess Hendel is a Brooklyn-based academic advisor, test prep tutor, and content writer for PrepScholar. A graduate of Amherst College, she has several years of experience writing content and designing curricula for the top e-learning organizations. She is passionate about leveraging new media and technology to help students around the world achieve their potential. View all posts by Jess Hendel

analytical writing assessment examples

How to write your GMAT AWA Essay [Effectively]

analytical writing assessment examples

INTRODUCTION

Hello there!

If you’ve found your way to this blog, we assume that you have begun to think about that often-neglected section of the GMAT – the AWA!

If wishes could come true, we’re guessing that GMAT aspirants would have wished away the AWA section away by now!

The AWA involves staring at a blank page and cursor and thinking up stuff to write, not an easy task for many people.

It also consumes a lot of mental bandwidth at the very beginning of the test.

To top it off, it does not even add to your final score!

We can understand why it isn’t your favorite section on the GMAT 🙂

But here’s the good news! There are not many shortcuts to mastering GMAT Quant and Verbal, but there are shortcuts to cracking the AWA section.

By the time you finish reading this guide, you will know what these hacks are. You will learn how to write an effective AWA essay that gets you a good score and leaves you charged for the real test that lies ahead.

This blog will teach you –

  • What you need to know BEFORE you start preparing for the AWA
  • How to use the 30 minutes allotted to AWA to maximum effect
  • How to use a template to make the AWA writing process simpler

Besides this, you will find 8 sample AWA essays to observe and learn from.

Happy reading! 🙂

7 Things to remember before you start prepping for the AWA

analytical writing assessment examples

Before you dive into AWA preparation, there are a few things you should know about the AWA. Many of these facts will ease your AWA fears and bring a smile to your face!

1. Why is the AWA section on the GMAT?

Each section of the GMAT is carefully constructed ( at the expense of millions of dollars, we kid you not!), to test your readiness for an MBA program and for your post-MBA career. One of the skills you will definitely need post-MBA is an ability to analyze an argument impartially and convey your perspective clearly.

This is what the AWA tests you on.

2. On the AWA, you need to be a lawyer, that is, you need to find faults with the given argument. You do not need to be a journalist, that is, you do not need to write about all possible perspectives of an issue.

Also remember, that this is an analysis, not an opinion piece. Do not bring YOUR perspective and your opinions into the essay. Your only goal is to analyse the given argument.

3. Unlike the Quant and Verbal sections, where your thumb-rule should be to get as high a score as possible, we’d suggest that you do not expend too much mental energy on the AWA, trying to score a 6 on 6.

Getting a perfect 6 will look good on your GMAT score card, and will sound great as you’re telling your friends about it. But it will not be the make-or-break factor in your application. A 4 or a 5 is good enough.

4. The AWA is graded by an E-reader application and by a human reader. Since there is an element of automated grading, you can rig the test to an extent. We’ve found that if you write a substantial essay of over 500 words, and if you structure the argument well ( check our CrackVerbal template in the following chapter), you are almost guaranteed to get a 4+ score!

5. Assuming that you prepare for the GMAT over a course of three months, we recommend that you practice writing 5 to 10 essays, and make sure you get feedback for all of them. If you cover this much practice ground, you’re good to go!

6. One of the best things about the AWA section is that you know all of the questions beforehand (yes, they’re all up there on the GMAC site – Analytical Writing Section ). So you do not have to go hunting for ‘authentic’ AWA essay questions.

7. Now you can choose the order in which you want to take up the sections before starting the test. It is advisable to keep in mind the order that would be helpful for you and prepare for the AWA based on that strategy. This is a recent change to the GMAT test structure. It was introduced in July 2017. We have done a detailed analysis of what this means to an Indian GMAT test-taker in the this blog

8. We saved the coolest point for last 🙂

The AWA lends itself very easily to the use of an essay template. No matter what the argument prompt is, you can bet that there will be at least 3 glaring errors of logic in it. You can, therefore, use a template to structure your AWA essay. Using a template takes most of the stress away from the AWA section.

In the few minutes before you start, you can jot down the template on your scratchpad, so that you don’t have to remember it anymore. Also, because you can plan many of your sentences beforehand, you can get at least a 100 words down before you even read the question!

There are a lot of templates on the internet – probably the most famous one being the Chineseburned AWA template.

At CrackVerbal, we have our own template for the AWA, a modified version of the Chineseburned template. We call it the CrackVerbal AWA Template on Steroids! 🙂

The AWA Writing Process

MBA Essay Writing

1. Write your templatized response

This should take you about 5 minutes:

Type out your prepared template response. Below is a sample. We definitely do not recommend that you use the same words. What you can do, however, is read a few templates on the net, and then write your own. Since you have written it yourself, it will be that much easier to memorise it.

CRACKVERBAL AWA TEMPLATE

The argument claims that < restate the argument >. Stated in this way the argument fails to take into account a few key factors which could call the conclusion to question. It rests on some assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is unconvincing and falls apart at the seams.

Paragraph 1:

1. Firstly, ( ) 2. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. 3. The argument would have been much clearer if ( )

Paragraph 2:

1. Second ( ). This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument ( ). 2. For example, 3. This argument would have sounded a lot more convincing if 4. In addition, it would have been strengthened ever further if the argument provided evidence that

Paragraph 3:

1. Finally, the argument concludes that 2. However, what is not clear here is ( ) 3. If there had been evidence to support ( )

In summary, the argument fails to convince because of the faulty assumptions aforementioned. If the argument had drawn upon examples as suggested, and thereby plugged in the holes in the reasoning, it would have been far sounder on the whole.

2. Brainstorm

Now that you have put the pre-planned portion of the essay down, it’s time to read the AWA prompt and wear your thinking hat. GMAT, in its politically correct, non-partisan way, says ‘Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument’. Remember however, that an AWA argument is never well-reasoned!

There are always a couple of glaring flaws in logic you can pounce on. If these flaws do not occur to you immediately, because of test-day stress, do not assume that you have been given a particularly sound argument. There is no such thing on the AWA!

If you’re unable to be critical, imagine that the author of the argument is somebody you dislike..a teacher you hated at college, or that guy who overtook you and almost dented your car this morning! There, now you’re in the right frame of mind to attack the argument 🙂

Before you do so, you need to understand the three elements of the argument – Conclusion, Premise and Assumptions.

Let us look at an example, and detect these three elements.

“Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

The conclusion is the decision/statement that the author has arrived at. In this case, the conclusion is the last sentence – “Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

The premises are the building blocks of facts on which the conclusion rests. In other words, a premise is what is offered as support for the conclusion. In this case, the premise is – Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase.

Assumptions are the unstated, unwritten premises that plug the gap between the written premises and the conclusion. It is the assumptions that you need to attack on the AWA!

How do you attack assumptions?

Remember that an assumption can be incorrect for a variety of reasons. Here are a few types of incorrect assumptions –

1. The Sampling Assumption – The sampling argument assumes that a small group is representative of a much larger group to which it belongs.

2. The illogical analogy assumption – The illogical analogy states that because something applies to A, it applies to B also.

3. The Causal Assumption – The Causal Assumption confuses correlation with causation. That means, just because ‘A’ usually occurs after ‘B’ occurs, does not necessarily imply that B happens because of A.

4. The Data Bias – This occurs when the data for a statistical inference itself is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the population under consideration. This is a case of faulty data leading to faulty assumptions.

5. The Non Sequitur – This simply means, finding a connection where there is none. Non Sequitur means “does not follow,” which is short for: the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

Don’t let these categories overwhelm you. We’ve put them down here to get you thinking. However, you can find faulty assumptions with ease, even if you have no clue what a non sequitur is!

As you brainstorm, you will need to jot down your thoughts on the scratchpad. Keep it crisp and brief. Make sure you have these things down –

1. Conclusion + Premise: 2. Flawed Assumption #1: 3. Flawed Assumption #2: 4. Flawed Assumption #3:

For each assumption, also make a cursory note of why it is flawed, an example that talks about why it is flawed, and what additional data would strengthen the argument ( or if you are convinced that you can remember these additional details without having to make a note of them, you can get on with the writing! )

This should take you about 15 minutes:

Here is where you fill in your templatized response with specific details.

The only detail you need to add to the first paragraph is a summary of the argument that is presented. In the above template, your summary should go here ->

1. Start off by pointing out the first flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

1. Start off by pointing out the second flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 4:

1. Start off by pointing out the third flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 5:

This is the concluding paragraph. You already have it down in your template! 🙂

4. Proofread

Are you wondering if three minutes is really enough time to proof-read a 500 word essay?

Here’s the deal – The AWA section is about whether you can analyse an argument and discuss it in an articulate manner. It is not a test of grammar and spelling. Hence, the GMAT will excuse minor errors in spelling and grammar.

However, you should understand that a human reader is going to be reviewing your work, and any human reader will have an unconscious bias against bad grammar and spellings. Hence, you want to keep your essay as error-free as possible, without worrying about it too much.

Three minutes should be able time for you to quickly glance through the document and make sure you haven’t made any obvious errors.

Voila! 🙂 Your AWA essay is ready!

Also Read: GMAT Section Selection – Everything you need to know

Sample AWA Essays

analytical writing assessment examples

Sample Essay 1

”Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument.

For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlying the thinking and what alternative explanations or counter examples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Introduction:

This argument states that it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer because lower wages could then be paid to employees. This conclusion is based on the premise that as the risk of physical injury increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. However, this argument makes several unsupported assumptions. For example, the argument assumes that the costs associated with making the workplace safe do not outweigh the increased payroll expenses due to hazardous conditions.

Body Paragraph 1

The first issue to be addressed is whether increased labor costs justify large capital expenditures to improve the work environment. Clearly one could argue that if making the workplace safe would cost an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to leaving the workplace as is and paying slightly increased wages than it would not make sense to improve the work environment. For example, if making the workplace safe would cost $100 million versus additional payroll expenses of only $5,000 per year, it would make financial sense to simply pay the increased wages. No business or business owner would pay all that extra money just to save a couple dollars and improve employee health and relations. To consider this, a cost benefit analysis must be made. I also feel that although a cost benefit analysis should be the determining factor with regard to these decisions making financial sense, it may not be the determining factor with regard to making social, moral and ethical sense.

Body Paragraph 2

Finally one must understand that not all work environments can be made safer. For example, in the case of coal mining, a company only has limited ways of making the work environment safe. While companies may be able to ensure some safety precautions, they may not be able to provide all the safety measures necessary. In other words, a mining company has limited ability to control the air quality within a coal mine and therefore it cannot control the risk of employees getting black. In other words, regardless of the intent of the company, some jobs are simply dangerous in nature.

In conclusion, while at first it may seem to make financial sense to improve the safety of the work environment sometimes it truly does not make financial sense. Furthermore, financial sense may not be the only issue a company faces. Other types of analyses must be made such as the social ramifications of an unsafe work environment and the overall ability of a company to improve that environment (i.e., coal mine). Before any decision is made, all this things must be considered, not simply the reduction of payroll expenses.

Sample Essay 2

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts.

“In a recent citywide poll, fifteen percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In this argument the author concludes that the city should allocate some of its arts funding to public television. The conclusion is based on two facts: (1) attendance at the city’s art museum has increased proportionally with the increases in visual-arts program viewing on public television, and (2) public television is being threatened by severe cuts in corporate funding. While this argument is somewhat convincing, a few concerns need to be addressed.

To begin with, the argument depends on the assumption that increased exposure to the visual arts on television, mainly public television, has caused a similar increase in local art-museum attendance. However, just because increased art-museum attendance can be statistically correlated with similar increases in television viewing of visual-arts programs, this does not necessarily mean that the increased television viewing of arts is the cause of the rise in museum attendance.

Moreover, perhaps there are other factors relevant to increased interest in the local art museum; for instance, maybe a new director had procured more interesting, exciting acquisitions and exhibits during the period when museum attendance increased, in addition, the author could be overlooking a common cause of both increases. It is possible that some larger social or cultural phenomenon is responsible for greater public interest in both television arts programming and municipal art museums.

Body Paragraph 3

To be fair, however, we must recognize that the author’s assumption is a special case of a more general one that television viewing affects people’s attitudes and behavior. Common sense and observation tell me that this is indeed the case. After all, advertisers spend billions of dollars on television ad time because they trust this assumption as well.

In conclusion, I am somewhat persuaded by this author’s line of reasoning. The argument would be strengthened if the author were to consider and rule out other significant factors that might have caused the increase in visits to the local art museum.

Sample Essay 3

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery.

“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”

In response to a coincidence between falling revenues and delays in manufacturing, the report recommends replacing the manager of the purchasing department. The grounds for this action are twofold. First, the delays are traced to poor planning in purchasing metals. Second, the purchasing manager’s lack of knowledge of the properties of metals is thought to be the cause of the poor planning. It is further recommended that the position of the purchasing manager be filled by a scientist from the research division and that the current purchasing manager be reassigned to the sales department. In support of this latter recommendation, the report states that the current purchasing manager’s background in general business, psychology, and sociology equip him for this new assignment. The recommendations advanced in the report are questionable for two reasons.

To begin with, the report fails to establish a causal connection between the falling revenues of the company and the delays in manufacturing. The mere fact that falling revenues coincide with delays in manufacturing is insufficient to conclude that the delays caused the decline in revenue. Without compelling evidence to support the causal connection between these two events, the report’s recommendations are not worthy of consideration.

Second, a central assumption of the report is that knowledge of the properties of metals is necessary for planning in purchasing metals. No evidence is stated in the report to support this crucial assumption. Moreover, it is not obvious that such knowledge would be required to perform this task. Since planning is essentially a logistical function, it is doubtful that in-depth knowledge of the properties of metals would be helpful in accomplishing this task.

In conclusion, this is a weak argument. To strengthen the recommendation that the manager of the purchasing department be replaced, the author would have to demonstrate that the falling revenues were a result of the delays in manufacturing. Additionally, the author would have to show that knowledge of the properties of metals is a prerequisite for planning in purchasing metals.

Sample Essay 4

The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper.

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

A newspaper publisher is recommending that the price of its paper, The Mercury, be reduced below the price of a competing newspaper, The Bugle. This recommendation responds to a severe decline in circulation of The Mercury during the 5-year period following the introduction of The Bugle. The publisher’s line of reasoning is that lowering the price of The Mercury will increase its readership, thereby increasing profits because a wider readership attracts more advertisers. This line of reasoning is problematic in two critical respects.

While it is clear that increased circulation would make the paper more attractive to potential advertisers, it is not obvious that lowering the subscription price is the most effective way to gain new readers. The publisher assumes that price is the only factor that caused the decline in readership. But no evidence is given to support this claim. Moreover, given that The Mercury was the established local paper, it is unlikely that such a mass exodus of its readers would be explained by subscription price alone.

There are many other factors that might account for a decline in The Mercury’s popularity. For instance, readers might be displeased with the extent and accuracy of its news reporting, or the balance of local to other news coverage. Moreover, it is possible The Mercury has recently changed editors, giving the paper a locally unpopular political perspective. Or perhaps readers are unhappy with the paper’s format, the timeliness of its feature articles, its comics or advice columns, the extent and accuracy of its local event calendar, or its rate of errors.

In conclusion, this argument is weak because it depends on an oversimplified assumption about the causal connection between the price of the paper and its popularity. To strengthen the argument, the author must identify and explore relevant factors beyond cost before concluding that lowering subscription prices will increase circulation and, thereby, increase advertising revenues.

Sample Essay 5

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine devoted to regional life.

“Corporations should look to the city of Helios when seeking new business opportunities or a new location. Even in the recent recession, Helios’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average. It is the industrial center of the region, and historically it has provided more than its share of the region’s manufacturing jobs. In addition, Helios is attempting to expand its economic base by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies.”

In this argument corporations are urged to consider the city of Helios when seeking a new location or new business opportunities. To support this recommendation, the author points out that Helios is the industrial center of the region, providing most of the region’s manufacturing jobs and enjoying a lower-than-average unemployment rate. Moreover, it is argued, efforts are currently underway to expand the economic base of the city by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

To begin with, it is questionable whether the available labor pool in Helios could support all types of corporations. Given that Helios has attracted mainly industrial and manufacturing companies in the past, it is unlikely that the local pool of prospective employees would be suitable for corporations of other types. For example, the needs of research and development companies would not be met by a labor force trained in manufacturing skills. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Helios will be successful in its attempt to attract companies that focus or research and development of innovative technologies.

Another problem with the available work force is its size. Due to the lower than average unemployment rate in Helios, corporations that require large numbers of workers would not find Helios attractive. The fact that few persons are out of work suggests that new corporations will have to either attract new workers to Helios or pay the existing workers higher wages in order to lure them away from their current jobs. Neither of these alternatives seems enticing to companies seeking to relocate.

In conclusion, the author has not succeeded in providing compelling reasons for selecting Helios as the site for a company wishing to relocate. In fact, the reasons offered function better as reasons for not relocating to Helios. Nor has the author provided compelling reasons for companies seeking new business opportunities to choose Helios.

Sample Essay 6

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles.

“People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food bydepleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full. Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals.”

In this argument the author concludes that people trying to lose weight are better off consuming sugar than the artificial sweetener aspartame. To support this conclusion the author argues that aspartame can cause weight gain by triggering food cravings, whereas sugar actually enhances the body’s ability to burn fat. Neither of these reasons provides sufficient support for the conclusion.

The first reason that aspartame encourages food cravings is supported by research findings that high levels of aspartame deplete the brain chemical responsible for registering a sense of being satedHidden text (sated, sating ), or full. But the author’s generalization based on this research is unreliable. The research was based on a sample in which large amounts of aspartame were administered; however, the author applies the research findings to a target population that includes all aspartame users, many of whom would probably not consume high levels of the artificial sweetener.

The second reason that sugar enhances the body’s ability to burn fat is based on the studies in which experimental groups, whose members consumed sugar after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, showed increased rates of fat burning. The author’s general claim, however, applies to all dieters who use sugar instead of aspartame, not just to those who use sugar after long periods of exercise. Once again, the author’s generalization is unreliable because it is based on a sample that clearly does not represent all dieters.

To conclude, each of the studies cited by the author bases its findings on evidence that does not represent dieters in general; for this reason, neither premise of this argument is a reliable generalization. Consequently, I am not convinced that dieters are better off consuming sugar instead of aspartame.

Sample Essay 7

The following appeared in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter.

“The common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false, or at least outdated: a recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey questionnaires expressed a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs.”

Based upon a survey among workers that indicates a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, the author concludes that workers are not apathetic about management issues. Specifically, it is argued that since 79 percent of the 1200 workers who responded to survey expressed interest in these topics, the notion that workers are apathetic about management issues is incorrect. The reasoning in this argument is problematic in several respects.

First, the statistics cited in the editorial may be misleading because the total number of workers employed by the corporation is not specified. For example, if the corporation employs 2000 workers, the fact that 79 percent of the nearly 1200 respondents showed interest in these topics provides strong support for the conclusion. On the other hand, if the corporation employs 200,000 workers, the conclusion is much weaker.

Another problem with the argument is that the respondents’ views are not necessarily representative of the views of the work force in general. For example, because the survey has to do with apathy, it makes sense that only less apathetic workers would respond to it, thereby distorting the overall picture of apathy among the work force. Without knowing how the survey was conducted, it is impossible to assess whether or not this is the case.

A third problem with the argument is that it makes a hasty generalization about the types of issues workers are interested in. It accords with common sense that workers would be interested in corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, since these issues affect workers very directly. However, it is unfair to assume that workers would be similarly interested in other management issues—ones that do not affect them or affect them less directly.

In conclusion, this argument is not convincing as it stands. To strengthen it, the author would have to show that the respondents account for a significant and representative portion of all workers. Additionally, the author must provide evidence of workers’ interest other management topics—not just those that affect workers directly.

Sample Essay 8

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine.

“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.”

Based on an expected increase in the number of middle-aged people during the next decade, the author predicts that retail sales at department stores will increase significantly over the next ten years. To bolster this prediction, the author cites statistics showing that middle-aged people devote a much higher percentage of their retail expenditure to department-store services and products than younger consumers do. Since the number of middle-aged consumers is on the rise and since they spend more than younger people on department-store goods and services, the author further recommends that department stores begin to adjust their inventories to capitalize on this trend. Specifically, it is recommended that department stores increase their inventory of products aimed at middle- aged consumers and decrease their inventory of products aimed at younger consumers. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

First, an increase in the number of middle-aged people does not necessarily portend an overall increase in department-store sales. It does so only on the assumption that other population groups will remain relatively constant. For example, if the expected increase in the number of middle-aged people is offset by an equally significant decrease in the number of younger people, there will be little or no net gain in sales.

Second, in recommending that department stores replace products intended to attract younger consumers with products more suitable to middle-aged consumers, the author assumes that the number of younger consumers will not also increase. Since a sizable increase in the population of younger consumers could conceivably offset the difference in the retail expenditure patterns of younger and middle- aged consumers, it would be unwise to make the recommended inventory adjustment lacking evidence to support this assumption.

This argument is unacceptable. To strengthen the argument the author would have to provide evidence that the population of younger consumers will remain relatively constant over the next decade.

We hope that our strategies help you conquer GMAT AWA with enough and more energy to spare for the sections that follow!

Now that you’ve figured out how to tackle the AWA section, do you want to put theory to practice and get your AWA essay graded?

Our experts here at CrackVerbal will evaluate and grade your AWA essay and give you specific, actionable feedback.

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GMAT Analytical Writing: Sample Questions and Answers PDF (FREE DOWNLOAD) 

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Analytical Writing GMAT Examples: The GMAT’s Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is designed to assess your ability to critically analyze an argument. It’s essentially a 30-minute essay where you dissect a flawed argument and expose its weaknesses. Unlike the multiple-choice sections, this section requires students to showcase their proficiency in writing and analytical skills.

In the Analytical writing section of the GMAT, students are provided with a writing prompt that presents an argument. One needs to analyze and write an essay critiquing its reasoning and any assumptions it makes. The section is all about identifying and explaining the flaws in the presented argument. GMAT’s Analytical writing essays are evaluated from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. It is equally important for students to keep in mind that the section can be quite challenging at times. Therefore, one must have enough preparation and practice to ace the section. In this blog, we have shared some of the latest GMAT analytical writing sample questions and answers. You can download these questions for free and start practicing on your own. Read the complete blog to learn more. 

This Blog Includes:

Latest gmat analytical writing sample questions and answers pdf , top 5+ tips to ace gmat analytical writing, analytical writing gmat examples: best gmat preparation books.

GMAT Analytical Writing Questions PDF: Here are some sample questions that you can practice to ace your GMAT Analytical writing questions. Download the free PDF from the link given below and practice the questions. Doing so will give you a solid understanding of the types of questions that can be asked, ensuring you are better equipped to tackle such questions on the day of the exam. Click on the link below to download the pdf for GMAT Analytical writing sample questions (with answers) for free! 

Here are some of the best tips to ace your GMAT analytical writing questions. Have a look. 

  • The AWA is a 30-minute essay where you analyse a flawed argument. Familiarize yourself with the question types and what’s expected in a strong response.
  • Get acquainted with the GMATs AWA structure and format. Having a solid idea of the format is essential for a high-scoring essay. Consider a five-paragraph format: introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Identify weaknesses in the argument and explain how they undermine its persuasiveness.
  • Don’t just list flaws; back them up with reasoning and relevant examples.
  • Aim to spend 2 minutes reading, 5 minutes analyzing, 3 minutes outlining, 15 minutes writing, and 5 minutes revising.
  • Take time to understand the argument before you start writing fully.
  •  Look for weaknesses in logic, evidence, or assumptions. Choose 2-3 strong points to critique.
  • Briefly outline your essay to ensure a clear and logical flow. Focus on clarity and avoid unnecessary fluff.
  • Use strong verbs and varied sentence structures, but avoid being overly complex.
  • Fix any typos or grammatical errors you can find in the limited time.
  • Craft an essay that convinces the reader of the argument’s weaknesses.
  • Briefly acknowledge potential counterarguments, but then explain why they don’t undermine your critique.

Refer to the following table to purchase the best GMAT preparation books. These books will help you prepare for the  GMAT verbal section. 

So that was all about the analytical writing gmat examples. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

Ans: A score of 4 on the GMAT’s Analytical Writing Assessment reflects a well-executed critique. It demonstrates a solid grasp of writing mechanics and the ability to analyze an argument effectively.

Ans: GMAT Official Guide 2023-2024 Bundle, All The Gmat, GMAT Prep Plus 2022-2023, GMAT Prep Book 2022-2023: GMAT Study Guide Secrets and Gmat Official Advanced Question are some of the best books for GMAT preparation. You can refer to these books to prepare for the GMAT within a month. 

Ans: 200-800 is the scoring range of the GMAT Exam. 

Build a plan with Leverage Edu‘s Leverage Live classes and our top trainers and strengthen your English score as well as your application so that you can secure your spot in your dream college. Reach out to Leverage Edu on 1800572000 and schedule a free session today .

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Shubham Das

Shubham Das has been working as an educational content writer for the past two years and has a background in filmmaking & screenplay/ teleplay writing. He is fascinated by the human psyche, literature and cinema.

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COMMENTS

  1. GMAT AWA Topics

    GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Analytical Writing Basics; AWA Topics; AWA Strategy; AWA Example; ... Example: "Dogs are highly motivated by food, which is a useful tool for training. Using this same method, you can help to encourage your children to repeat positive behaviors." This argument does not address early childhood development ...

  2. GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

    01 Jul 2022. Also called the GMAT Essay, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) overall is a single task, which is to evaluate an argument. You will have a total of 30 minutes to consider the argument, write your essay, and finally proofread your essay. It can either be the first or final sections in your variable exam order; that is, you can ...

  3. GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips

    Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment AWA essay. Here is a sample AWA essay question for practice. We have also provided the answer to this question based on the template. The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum. "The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item ...

  4. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) on the GMAT Exam

    The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, consisting of one 30-minute essay, measures the test taker's ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a specific conclusion based on a specific line of thinking. The AWA score is an average of the two independent ratings. Scores average from zero to six, in half-point ...

  5. GMAT Essay: Format, Scoring, and Tips for the AWA

    For the Analytical Writing Assessment, you'll receive a score between 0 and 6, scored in half point intervals (so you could get a 5.5, for example, or a 5.0). You'll be scored on your ability to express ideas effectively, to give examples to develop those ideas, to analyze the given argument accurately, and to demonstrate your grasp of ...

  6. GRE General Test Analytical Writing Overview

    The Analytical Writing measure of the GRE General Test administered before September 22, 2023, assesses your critical thinking and analytical writing skills by assessing your ability to: articulate and support complex ideas. construct and evaluate arguments. sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It doesn't assess specific content knowledge.

  7. 7 Essay Tips for GMAT Analytical Writing

    The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) provides clear instructions on how you should plan and write your essay. Kaplan students learn these instructions long before Test Day and do not waste precious testing time reading them while the clock ticks. Kaplan GMAT students learn the Kaplan Method for AWA and the Kaplan template for structuring the essay into paragraphs.

  8. GMAT Analytical Writing: All About the GMAT Essay and How to Prepare

    Example GMAT Essays. A GMAT analytical writing sample essay, whether well done or flawed in itself, can help you polish your own GMAT writing and bring your essays to the next level. The important part of reviewing example GMAT essays is in analyzing them (and expert analysis is even more helpful, particularly at the beginning).

  9. Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

    Sample AWA Prompt and 6/6 Essay. One of my (anonymous) students wrote a 6/6 essay (as graded by GMAT Write) in response to an official GMAC essay prompt, and has kindly allowed me to share his work on GMAT Club for the benefit of all. The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of research and development at Ready-to-Ware, a ...

  10. How to Use the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Score

    The following guidelines should be kept in mind when using the AWA: Use multiple criteria when evaluating an applicant, recognizing that the AWA is only one indicator of academic readiness. Use the AWA scoring guide (detailed below) as your basis for score interpretation. Consider that the scores are based on 30-minute, first-draft writing samples.

  11. GMAT Analytical Writing: All About the GMAT Essay and How to ...

    Example GMAT Essays. A GMAT analytical writing sample essay, whether well done or flawed in itself, can help you polish your own GMAT writing and bring your essays to the next level. The important part of reviewing example GMAT essays is in analyzing them (and expert analysis is even more helpful, particularly at the beginning).

  12. The Best GMAT Essay Template to Help You Ace the AWA

    The essay portion of the GMAT, known as the Analytical Writing Assessment, probably doesn't resemble the kinds of essays that you've written for college. Luckily, the essay task itself and the prompts that you'll encounter for it are fairly formulaic. This means that your approach to writing the essay can be boiled down into a template.

  13. GMAT AWA: Essay Sample, Tips & Topics for Analytical Writing

    The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT contains one essay prompt and is 30 minutes long. The AWA tests your ability to analyze a logical argument and then write a coherent and convincing essay, evaluating the argument. The topic on the argument essay can be extracted from a wide range of topics related to business.

  14. How to Write AWA in GMAT: Best Tips for GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

    1.7k views. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-based test designed to gauge your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English. The exam is taken by students interested in management courses. The GRE essay section is also referred to as the AWA or the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment ...

  15. Analytical Writing Assessment

    The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section consists of one 30-minute essay, Analysis of an Argument.The Argument essay is similar to a Critical Reasoning weaken question. You are given a short excerpt from an article or memorandum; this stimulus will have an argument that typically contains several assumptions and/or other flaws.

  16. How to Approach Every GMAT Essay Topic: Analysis and Tips

    The essay portion of the GMAT, or the Analytical Writing Assessment, is unlike most of the essays you've written for college. You're given a single, one-paragraph prompt containing some kind of argument, and rather than picking a side and building your own case, you have to critique how that argument is made.. Luckily, we've done the hard work of analyzing GMAT essay questions for you.

  17. What's Tested on the GMAT: Analytical Writing Assessment

    The Analytical Writing Assessment, or "essay" section, helps business schools analyze your writing skills. It is scored separately, and your AWA score is not used to generate your 200-800 point score. Essays are scored by a human grader and a computer grading system, and the two scores are averaged for your final score.

  18. How to write your GMAT AWA Essay [Effectively]

    2. On the AWA, you need to be a lawyer, that is, you need to find faults with the given argument. You do not need to be a journalist, that is, you do not need to write about all possible perspectives of an issue. Also remember, that this is an analysis, not an opinion piece. Do not bring YOUR perspective and your opinions into the essay.

  19. GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Prompts: Description & Examples

    The Analytical Writing Assessment essay is read and scored by two independent readers. Essays are graded on a half-point scale from 0 to 6. After each reader scores the essay, the two scores are ...

  20. GMAT Analytical Writing: Sample Questions and Answers PDF (FREE

    Analytical Writing GMAT Examples: The GMAT's Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is designed to assess your ability to critically analyze an argument. It's essentially a 30-minute essay where you dissect a flawed argument and expose its weaknesses. Unlike the multiple-choice sections, this section requires students to showcase their ...